Three suspects arrested in a relation to copper theft criminal network

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Three foreign nationals have been arrested after copper cables suspected stolen were recovered at their company premises in Industria West Extension, Johannesburg. Various police units within Gauteng raided the premises along with officials from Eskom and Johannesburg City Power.

The value of the suspected stolen items is estimated to stand at R500 000 worth of copper cables as well as aluminium stacks worth approximately R200 000.

The suspects are linked to a syndicate presumed to be involved in the large-scale theft of copper which they allegedly process and export to foreign countries.

The three arrestees will appear in court soon over this matter, and also face charges for attempting to bribe the police.

Copper theft is a lucrative crime mainly due to the metal being is widely used in many electronic devices coupled with the soaring prices of the metal in market globally which have almost tripled since 2015.

Earlier this month, the Africa Mining Indaba was hosted in Cape Town and mining is one of the industries most targeted by copper thieves, along with transportation and telecommunications industries. Since the beginning of 2021, mining company Sibanye-Stillwater, which is the world’s largest primary producer of platinum, recorded 165 incidents of copper theft at their platinum mines.

Copper thefts presents a threat to mining operations and the transportation of goods.